- Dan Cromb
Ola Village (Norway) - ‘Love To Cry’ (single)
Using the term ‘Norwegian Newcomer’ seems a little odd for someone who’s actually been on the scene for a few years and won the NRK P3 Urørt award back in 2018. But since winning Norway’s equivalent to the BBC’s Sound Of… award, Jon Olav has reinvented himself as Ola Village and is releasing his second single in this ‘new’ reincarnation today, which means it’s probably ok. It’s also quite early to be declaring anything as a potential contender for Song Of The Year, but the first one has to come from somewhere, and “Love To Cry” deserves a shout.
“Love To Cry” reveals a more sensitive side to Jon Olav than we’re used to hearing - his previous single “A OK” was a more playful and light-hearted number, after all. But it adds layers of depth to him as an artist. It’s also a timely and important release, given the long-overdue open discussions that are being had in society about toxic masculinity, and the difficulty that some men might face in being open about their emotions.
The track, which was written and produced in his home studio in Oslo and mixed by David Nakaji (Zack Villere, No Rome, Post Malone), opens casually enough with delicately strummed guitars and gentle hand claps. That casual opening doesn’t prepare you for the hit of the first bridge, however, with Jon Olav softly declaring “If you ever get the chance to see me open up / think twice cos I might be broken”.
There’s almost no chance to react before we’re straight in to the chorus which, with its layered vocals and strings, sounds like it could have been written for some of the biggest boy-bands of the 90’s, and manages to find just the right balance of emotion and honesty. And boy oh boy is it catchy. Lyrically it’s pretty damn brilliant too: “I rarely show emotions but I love to cry / I guess I’m kinda shy and I hate goodbyes / When you put your heart out I will say I’m fine / It’s something we can talk about another time”. It’s a chorus that you can listen to over and over again and the lyrics hit different each time.
Add in some notable key changes and subtle twists to earlier lyrics (“But if you ever figure out how to open me up / You also have to know how to stitch up a cut”) and you get a sense for just how accomplished Ola Village is as a songwriter. It all adds up to an almost perfectly delivered pop-song that covers all bases. It’s also definitely his most authentic song to date, and one which highlights the raw vocal ability that grabbed people’s attention all those years ago.
Speaking about “Love To Cry”, Ola Village says: "This next one is a bit more personal than 'A Ok'. I generally don’t like sharing too much about my songs, which I think becomes obvious if you listen to the lyrics. So by saying that I guess you can imagine what this song is about. You might think: me, an emotional being with the lack of will to show those emotions to others, would be a bad fit. But I have to say that I like it that way. In a time where all of our lives are so public, it’s nice to have something that is just mine."
It truly is a cracker of a song, and it deservedly raises Ola Village up as an artist that’s worth paying serious attention to. But don’t just take our word for it - he’s recently been included in a 2021 Spring Preview from Music Norway and the Norwegian Embassy’s cultural arm, Norwegian Arts and these people know what they’re talking about when it comes to Norwegian music!
There’s a debut EP due for release in autumn 2021, but until then, “Love To Cry” is going to be getting a lot of plays.
Find Ola Village on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. And don't forget to visit the lovely people at Norwegian Arts, by following them on Facebook or on Twitter.